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Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Six Concertos for Flute, Strings and Basso Continuo op. 10: Concerto No. 1 RV 433 in F major, La Tempesta di Mare [7:00]; Concerto No. 2 RV 439 in G minor, La Notte [8:18]; Concerto No. 3 RV 428 in D major, Il Gardellino [9:26]; Concerto No. 4 RV 435 in G Major [6:42]; Concerto No. 5 RV 434 in F major [8:03]; Concerto No. 6 RV 437 in G major [7:49]
Konrad Hünteler (flute), Camerata of the 18th Century
rec. July 1995, Kassel-Harleshausen. DDD
MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG31106402 [46:47] 

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This is a reissue of a disc originally released in the 1990s, performed on period instruments.  The difference in pitch with modern instrument recordings is notable and gives a darker feeling to the sound than the brightness one has become accustomed to with the modern flute. In this recording, Konrad Hünteler uses an instrument made by Jacob Denner, which was approximately ten years old when these works were composed. The recording is made using only the natural acoustics of the space with no added technological trickery, and as such, it serves to provide an interesting example of what this music may have sounded like at the time Vivaldi composed it.

These concertos have been recorded many times by a range of different performers, but my feeling is that Hünteler’s authentic performance approach provides a scholarly interpretation which offers much insight and thought. The sleeve-notes are informative and well written, and the disc as a whole provides a satisfying educational experience, as well as being highly entertaining. 

The recording is well balanced and the darker sonority of the low pitch allows for a strong bass end to the ensemble. The performers achieve an enjoyable range of timbres and colours, and the faster movements (most notably the first movement of Il Gardellino) are allowed to sparkle. This is characterful playing, and I am amazed by the range within the music; I have heard these concertos hundreds of times, played by both students and professionals, and I can honestly say that I have never heard a performance on a modern instrument which shows such range of tone colour, mood and musical interest. I am not an early music afficianado and have no particularly strong feelings either way about whether period or modern instruments should be used. A well informed historically accurate performance is interesting as an academic exercise, and I am generally of the opinion that a modern instrument performance is equally valid in terms of giving the music a continued life. However, I do believe, most passionately, that performances should have something to say, and this particular performance has completely changed my opinion of these concertos, and allowed me to see the musical depth contained within them. 

The playing is excellent throughout and highly convincing. The ensemble supports the soloist well and there is an overall sense of unity between the performers. The small forces used mean that the solo line is always allowed space to be clearly heard. The slow movements are expressive, sensitively played and well ornamented, while the allegro movements have sparkle and drive.

Carla Rees

 


 


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